TOWNSEND -- Band members, parents and leaders are getting ready for an unusual spring fundraiser -- a mattress sale.
Usually the band does more traditional fundraisers. They sell poinsettias, advertisements and discount coupon books. Nothing was happening this spring though.
Jason Bielik, band instructor at North Middlesex Regional High School, heard about the benefit sale when he was talking with another school band director. That school made a good amount of money at it.
Soon after, he received a cold call from the outfit that runs the sales. It sounded like a good bet.
Big purchases are often made in the summer, when the Christmas gift-buying frenzy is months away. Quite a number of schools have found success with the sale, he learned.
The band director was hooked.
"The beauty of it is that there is no financial commitment from us," he said. Not only that, the organization makes it as easy as possible; they supply the advertising materials and keep track of all the financial records, he said.
Students have been distributing coupons and signs. The day of the sale they will stand at intersections with signs. If someone who got a coupon from a student makes a purchase, that student will get a cash award.
"This is not a nickel and dime type of fundraiser," he said, "Either you need a mattress or you don't."
The $3,000 to $4,000 the band hopes to make during the sale might not be a large amount of money in the scheme of a school budget but is very important to the music program, Bielik said. Last year the band raised about $6,000 over the course of the year.
The band needs the money from fundraisers to pay the stipends of band instructors. "Like a football team, a band needs more than one coach," he said. His own stipend is covered by the school but others are not.
Since Bielik first came to the school six years ago, the program has grown. In addition to band classes that meet daily during school hours, there is a fall marching band, winter color guard and winter percussion.
As with sports teams, the members of the after-school ensembles pay a $150 fee to participate in each group.
The band kids keep busy, said Nancy French, a band booster. With daily classes, a concert every quarter and special events , the musicians have plenty of opportunities to play.
"Along with all of the obvious benefits that come from learning to read music and play an instrument, music offers the kids a form of creative expression. They also learn to work together as a group, following the direction of the leader or conductor," French said.
The sale will be held Saturday, June 1, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the high school. Coupons for $50 are available at the school and from band members before the sale. The discount coupons will not be available during the sale.
The mattresses will ship to a warehouse in Lowell within two weeks. They can be picked up or delivery can be arranged for a $60 fee.
Old mattresses will not be taken when the new ones are delivered. They can be brought to the recycling center.
Recycler Irene Congdon is working on an alternative way to dispose of the old bedding.